Almost lovers. And a story.
I found the prettiest gal on the crossing of Dover to Calais.
I was drinking the Johnnie Walker whiskey, watching the sea dance.
Pretty Swiss girl with the darkest brown eyes, told me.
It is a sin to drink alone, please join me and my friends.
We are safe and we won’t bite you.
I offered my hand to her and I told her, my name is Johnnie.
Michigan boy traveling alone to Paris.
She gave me her hand and she told be my name is Muriel and
I am from Basel, Switzerland, also traveling to Paris.
I joined the table with two more Basel girls, 18 years girls and on Summer break. I told them. I packed-up some Johnnie Walker red and some German peach schnapps and I am willing to share. They laughed at me and one of the girls reached out her hand. She told me. I am Beth and the already drunk girl is Delia. We would be enchanted to have your company and the good drink. I took her hand and she stood-up and she kissed my face cheeks. She whispered. Here in Europe, we still like human contact. All three girl were beautiful. Tall, their sun-kissed skin by the sun and they had youthful spirit and enjoying their freedom. I told them, thank you for allowing me to join them.
Beth smiled and she asked. Why are traveling alone? Not safe to travel alone. Where are you going Johnnie? I smiled and I told her. I am on one of my 50 dream-trips. I wanted to spend some time in Paris. A friend of mine, in Germany had a apartment empty near Seine river. Delia laughed out loud and she told him. We are lucky to had found you Johnnie. We are way-ward travelers, a lot of time, no money for hotels and maybe. We can join your dream-vacation? I smiled and I told them. I don’t know if I would be good company. I am roaming the ancient cities, seeking the spirits of dead writers. Muriel took my hand and she told me. We are willing to accompany you and I am the smart one. I love the ancient places too. Delia and Beth like the wine and the food. If you allow me. I can show you Paris. I had roamed her often. Would you like to see Jim Morrison grave?
I told her. This is one of many places I want to see. I believe the apartment is large and I would appreciate the company. Beth said good. Now let’s drink. Also we have money. My daddy ensured I am always safe and sound. No hotel money wasted means more drinking and eating money. You and Muriel can dig up dead writers and singers. We will drink and roam the River Seine. I smiled and I agreed. The girls, college girls on break. They were storms waiting to take life and learn new things.
A long bus ride into Paris. Beth wanted to know what I carry in my backpack. I showed her my Hemingway book “A moveable feast” and my Jack London book “When the gods laugh.” I showed them my journal. Delia took the journal and she read one of my poems. Muriel sat with me. Held my hand and I felt her kind eyes on me trying to figure me out.
“It is 1979…
What have I done?
I knew love kiss, I knew love blessing.
I learn love is your sweetest days and your hardest days.
The windmills of my mind,
now heavy with too many goodbyes and not enough hellos.
I wanted forever and I learn,
forever is for the brave.
We were not brave enough.
I loved a dream.
I loved days and night,
when we almost lovers.
Now I know.
Love is just myth and tale.”
Delia finish reading and she looked sad. She told me. You are young and you will have many great lovers. In our youth, we steal and borrow. Love is like dancing on fire. Can be hot as hell sometimes. But we have Paris, a lot of money for the drink, a free apartment and you have three girls to drive you nuts. Is that enough to make you smile?
I told her. Yes. Muriel and the two girls fell asleep on the bus ride. I saw Paris in my view. I knew, this is new Paris. Not the Paris, Hemingway lived in. I would of loved the after war-time Paris. In the book “A moveable feast”. He gave Paris, wonder, mystery and wonderful crazy people. I awoke the girls and I told them. We are here. They fix their faces and asked did I have gum? They told me. All Americans carry gum. I reached in my pocket and I gave them the Juicy fruit gum. With delight, they took, open and enjoyed.
We found the apartment easier. All three of the girl spoke French. They were amazing. Could speak five languages. The apartment wasn’t large, shower in the kitchen and had a large selection of alcohol and wine. They laughed and Beth told me. Perfect. Four in the bed tonight Johnnie. I laughed and I told them. My friend said. Drink, all you can. He will replace in the Fall. Delia came to me and she danced with me. She whispered to me. I love the apartment, the drink and I can see the river Seine in the distance. Muriel told Beth. A large wine store near, we must reload. Beth asked. How long can we stay? I told the girls. I am here for a week. Muriel smiled. Time for showers. Three days roaming London without a proper washing. I sat on the small sofa and each girls stripped down. They enjoyed the hot water and I loved the sound of their voices. Delia and Beth. They will wild-child in spirit. Muriel was the mother to them. Kept them safe and sound. Delia and Beth were dressed and ready to go. They told me. Off to good bars and to find some food. Muriel, almost ready. She will show you the darkest secrets of Paris. We are glad to have met you. We needed someone to give her purpose and reason. I hope you love to walk?
Muriel told them from the shower. Children, be nice. Good to have more interest than drink and food. They held silence and they escaped to the city of lights. It was getting close to nightfall and the city of Paris light show was beginning. Muriel came out of the shower. Standing bare-ass and asked me. What do I want to do tonight? I knew already. Europeans are not afraid of nudity. Took me a year in Germany to grasp. The Europeans like to be clotheless and drunk. She was beautiful. Her brown hair wet and falling to her deep back. Her womanly curves, like perfect valley and peaks. She dressed slowly and I told her. Dear Muriel, maybe a river walk. Find a hidden place to eat and we can dance at midnight for the Paris lights. She smiled and she told him. Your wish is my command Johnnie.
We walked the three blocks to the river Seine, hand in hand. Muriel told me of school, of her favorite city Florence. She told me. She would be a lawyer some day. She asked me. I told you everything and you have told me nothing. Where is you base at? I told her. I am station in southern Germany. I have a small apartment and I have been in Germany, two years. All I do is travel, write and read. She smiled. No girlfriend for a handsome soldier. I told her. I had a Scottish gal once. We were almost lovers. I allowed love to died. It okay Muriel. We must seek more than love. We must seek knowledge. I loved her dancing brown eyes and she embraced me tightly and she kissed my face, my lips. She told me. Don’t worry Johnnie, you have me, Beth and Delia. We will become forever friends. I believe people, meet for a reason. I will give you my address in Basel and you can visit me. We can travel to Florence for many days and night. I can show you the most beautiful places. I kissed her back and I told her. Are you sure, I am okay to be with? She led me to the city and we find a hidden tavern. We ordered our food and drink. She told me. I know you are alright. When you look at me. I feel good, I feel beautiful. You listen to me. I needed someone like you. Someone with the sameness to travel, write and you have a kind heart. I hope you like me?
I told her. I like you a lot. You make me smile, want to laugh and dance again. You are my Agnes, in the city of lights. She took my hand and she whispered.
You promised me a midnight dance by the River Seine and I expect all promises to be made. I kissed her hands. I told her. A promise is a promise. I will keep dear Muriel.